Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora's Box to Amanda Knox

Hardcover | October 28, 2014

byS. Simkin

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The figure of the beautiful but lethal woman has haunted the Western imagination from ancient myth (Pandora, Eve, Lilith) to contemporary cinema. However, there are also remarkable 'real life' cases of women on trial for murder who have been represented as femmes fatales, including Frances Howard in the court of King James I, Ruth Snyder (the inspiration for The Postman Always Rings Twice) in the 1920s and, most recently, Amanda Knox, accused of murdering a fellow student in Italy in 2007. This interdisciplinary study traces the figure of the femme fatale across a broad cultural map, considering representations in news media, drama, film, art and literature, and the relationships between them. By considering the ways each of these lethal women has been coded, decoded and re-encoded, Stevie Simkin reveals how Western culture and society has struggled to comprehend and contain female violence.

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The figure of the beautiful but lethal woman has haunted the Western imagination from ancient myth (Pandora, Eve, Lilith) to contemporary cinema. However, there are also remarkable 'real life' cases of women on trial for murder who have been represented as femmes fatales, including Frances Howard in the court of King James I, Ruth Snyd...

Stevie Simkin is Reader in Drama and Film at the University of Winchester, UK. He is the author of, among other works, studies of Basic Instinct (2013) and Straw Dogs (2011) in the Controversies series, Early Modern Tragedy and the Cinema of Violence (2005)and A Preface to Marlowe (2000).   

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.04 inPublished:October 28, 2014Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan UKLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230355692

ISBN - 13:9780230355699

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1.Defining the Femme Fatale
2.Frances Howard (1590-1632)
3.Ruth Snyder (1891-1928)
4.Amanda Knox
Conclusion
References
Notes